WUENSCHE, Opal (Bible)

Opal Wuensche left this world and her earthly body Sunday morning, Feb. 17. She left pain behind and joined loved ones already in the heavens. She survived polio, lived a full life, but age, fragile bones, weakening muscles and dementia overcame her body and ended its life. Her love and spirit remain in our hearts.

Opal was born September 1, 1928, in Johnson City, Texas, the first daughter of Martin and Ella Bible. She had two older brothers, James (decd) and Roy Bible, followed by John (decd) and Robert (decd) before sisters Ruby and Mary join the family. She was born during hard times and remembered hard work and avoiding waste were the only ways to survive the Great Depression. Her memories of working equally with Roy and her dad in the fields and with their animals shaped part of her life.

She learned how to hunt and fish and knew this meant food for the family. Gardening and canning were also routine and necessary. She could equal her brothers and continued life as a strong and independent person. Johnson City didn’t offer much to a young woman in the 1940’s and she headed for Austin. Here she met and fell in love with a returning Navy veteran from Thorndale, Texas, Walter “Mickey” Wuensche. They were married in 1947 and two families became one through their union.They started their own family with the birth of Linda, their only child. In 1958 polio struck Opal.

It was an incredible battle, with many months spent in the hospital and many more months in rehab at Warm Springs. She came out with a wheel chair, braces, crutches and determination not to have her life limited by the paralysis in her legs. She had a husband, daughter, love and support of family and friends and a life to live. She was a stay at home “mom” to many. She kept nieces and nephews while parents worked, Opal loved children and made an after school home for many neighborhood kids and the sons and daughters of family friends. The house was full of the laugher of babies and children and the messes they made. She loved them all as if they were her own. To her, they were all like her own and loved just as much.

Opal and Mickey were a team. He was from farm country, not Hill Country. Opal taught Mickey to hunt deer and put trot lines in the Pedernales. Week-ends were always filled with trips to the rivers, lakes, coast or the ranches around Johnson City. Eventually farming became another chapter in their lives and you would find them in Thorndale on the week-ends, enjoying their cows, the land, the work and fishing in the ponds. They were never short of helping hands. “Second sons” joined them to help with work so they could enjoy the sports of hunting and fishing after the chores were done. Fun was had in work and play and the food was always good. Opal saw to that.

A balance was created and lessons were learned. Opal wanted to see Las Vegas. Mickey had to have a stroke to see the light. He decided he could get on a plane and off they went. They were hooked on flying and enjoyed many more trips to several casinos with their good friends Dutch, Minnie, Billie and others. Life was a party and Opal usually succeeded in bringing home more than she left. After Mickey lost his battle with cancer in 2010, Opal made a few more trips to casinos with family, creating happy memories for all.

Opal is survived by her daughter, Linda, brother Roy and wife Joyce, sisters Mary and Ruby, sister-in-laws Anne (James), Lillie (Robert) and Marge Williams (Roy Wuensche), numerous nieces and nephews, “second sons and daughters” of heart, and the extended families of the Glauninger and Lamoreaux clans, and the “girls”, Sadie and Sophie, her Akitas.

Visitation will be at 10:00 am Thursday, February 21, followed by a memorial tribute at 11:00 at Harrell Funeral Home, Austin, TX. Burial: 1:00 at Miller Creek Cemetery, Henley, TX. Although Opal loved flowers, she also loved animals. Memorial contributions can be made in her honor to Animal Rescue or the Austin Humane Society.

Special thanks to Marge Williams and her family for the love and care given to Opal during the most difficult time of her life, the time she was confined to bed. The many visits of loyal extended family members Gwen, Twanda, Dave, Debra, and Kathy were also greatly appreciated. Thank- you to everyone who helped care for her when it was needed.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on February 20, 2013